Dean Eyre sits on a stool in the middle of his newly purchased bike shop on Wood Street. A man as passionate as Eyre deserves to own a place like this: “There’s something nice about going somewhere and knowing that you used your own muscles to get you there.
“I think they (bicycles) are the best machines humans have ever invented,” he says.
Eyre has made good use of his muscles while sitting atop a bike. “I’ve done a lot of touring. I’ve ridden across the country (Canada) and I’ve also ridden down to San Francisco,” he says.
However, take one look at the space that surrounds Eyre — formerly Philippe’s Bicycle Repair and now Cadence Cycle — and you realize that cycling is merely one passion among many for him. The walls are covered with little paintings and in the corner of the shop an artist is busy at work.
In an adjacent room, another person is constructing some sort of sculpture. During the Yukon’s lengthy off-season, Eyre has decided to convert his store into art studio space.
“It gives the place a nice vibe, and it means there’s always someone around to stoke the fire,” Eyre says about the benefits of sheltering artists in the winter. Indeed, the fire is glowing nicely in the background.
As well as being an avid cycler and a patron of the arts, Eyre has also been deeply entrenched in the Yukon’s theatre scene since his arrival in town back in 1992.
“I got into theatre up here because I was interested in being a playwright,” says Eyre. As of now he has had four of his own plays produced, but that is not where his involvement ends.
“I’ve had many different jobs in theatre: actor, director, stage manager.” Also, Eyre has made notable contributions in set construction. He reminisces about one of the most memorable play sets that he helped to build.
“It was for a play called Perfect Pie. We had a bunch of stinky old carpet that we covered with plaster of paris to make it white, then made a ring of gravel around the outside of the plaster. Then we stuck up cedar planks around the edge.”
His eyes twinkle a little as he remembers the trials and tribulations. “It took a bit of engineering to get the planks to stand up because they were going out at odd angles.”
Eyre, it would seem, is a natural-born multi-tasker. When asked about the jobs he has held in the Yukon, Eyre begins his list with enthusiasm: “I’ve been a librarian, a photographer, I’ve worked at the dump and the recycling centre, and I’ve been a bicycle mechanic.”
Eyre stops abruptly.
Its doubtful that the list is complete, more likely, he recognizes that the list is to extensive to complete.
Eyre’s tenure in the Yukon seems to illustrate a fundamental truth about our territory. With so few people and so much space, there is plenty of room for diversity of experience. You want to be a bicycle mechanic? That’s feasible. You want to be a playwright? Yup, you can do that, too.
And Eyre fits right in. “It felt like home as soon as I moved here,” he says, later adding, “I feel sorry for people who only do one thing.”